I got more involved in makeup when I worked in the television industry several years ago and had to do my own makeup while starting out in the business. I started to care a lot more about what I saw on my face because both the good and unflattering would show on camera. I would also have to travel for events and had to be looking my best. What started out as an obligation turned into finding the power of makeup to be quite fun! I decided to enroll in an intensive makeup artistry program and was certified. I fell in love with discovering beauty in others and helping people discover beauty in themselves that they could not see beforehand.

The popularity of Instagram and the selfie culture has only made us more aware of how we look and come across online. There is a lot of advice for makeup application out there, but I wanted to focus on how to look your best in photos. There are many tips I could share here, but I’ll focus on my top five best tips!

Select a foundation without SPF (titanium dioxide) in it

Sometimes in a photograph of yourself, you’ll notice that your face is white and your neck and chest are tan. That’s because the flash reflects light off the face (with foundation and powder) and the raw skin of your chest or neck absorbs the light. According to celebrity makeup artist, Kevyn Aucoin, next time you think you’ll be photographed, be sure to apply a bit of the powder or foundation to your neck and chest. Makeup that has SPF or titanium dioxide tends to produce a flash or a white cast over your face when photographed. I learned this tip from working in the television news industry, on the job at photo shoots, and from bad experience. Yes, skincare is important, and regularly using sunscreen with a decent amount of SPF will keep your skin looking great in the long and short term. However, for purposes of photography, with the bright lights on cameras indoors and outdoors (even smartphones), you want your complexion to look continuous and seamless and opt for a foundation truer to your skin tone. 

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Layer concealer under the eye

One of the greatest tips I learned from attending The Masterclass by Mario Dedivanovic in New York City is to layer concealer under the eye and to use different concealers for different areas. First, I like to use a cream-based concealer with a peach undertone under the eyes. This will conceal dark under-eye circles. Blend it and let it properly sit (or it will shift), and then layer it with a liquid concealer that is one shade lighter. This will brighten your under-eye area. Even if you got enough sleep but your eyes disagree with you, this will put it in its place. My personal favorite concealers for this trick are both from NARS, and a little goes a long way!

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Wear false lashes

We tend to squint in pictures when we are smiling and when the sun is shining in our direction. Whether it is on the red carpet, going to prom, or just a simple selfie with your girlfriends, wearing false lashes brings back that definition of your eyes, can open your eyes, and is a simple way to make you look just 10% better. You do not have to get eyelash extensions or wear dramatic, expensive strip lashes to look great (although I love those, too, when the occasion calls for it). My favorite strip lashes come from the drugstore!

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Bring back color and shape

Bright, harsh lights can draw out the natural colors in our complexion and erase our facial bone structure. No matter the occasion, blush, bronzer, and lipstick or a lip gloss will keep you looking alive. Some people feel the need to get a tan, but that should not apply to everyone. The prettiest complexions are the ones that are healthy.

Highlighting and contouring emphasizes our best features. There are a ton of highlighting and contouring face sheets out there, and while there are some that are better than others, the important thing to keep in mind is that you want the center of your face to be the brightest, as that where natural light hits your face. 

According to celebrity makeup artist, Kevyn Aucoin, light colors highlight and make things come forward – the apples of the cheek, under the eye, the brow bone, middle of the chin, your lip on the Cupid ’s bow, and the bridge of your nose. Dark colors shade and make areas recede, for instance the hollows of the cheek, temples, under the chin, and sides of the nose.

I want to stress one thing about face charts. They can serve as a great guide but they are not the be-all end-all for highlighting and contouring. So many people are concerned about what their face shape is (oval, heart, square, etc.) and try to fit it into a mold but frankly, there are plenty of faces out there that have features of more than one face shape. Yes, it is possible to not be a true oval, round, square, etc. face shape and that is ok! Therefore, it is ok to highlight and contour according to what your face is whether you have a round forehead and a square jaw, and not be married to a face chart.

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Your smile is your greatest asset

I love soft smiles with no teeth shown, but bright white smiles look good on everyone. Do not skip out on good hygiene. Teeth whitening can help, but of course, it is up to everyone’s preference. Choosing a lipstick color that does not make your teeth appear yellow is crucial. This can happen in any lip color, so I like to try them on before purchasing. This is possible if you are at a store that offers experimentation like Sephora or any major department store.

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